Intel, AMD Unveil Low-Power Chips for Ultrabooks, Embedded Systems

Intel is rolling out two Core i3 chips for notebooks and Ultrabooks, while AMD is adding to its lineup of Embedded G-Series APUs.

Intel and Advanced Micro Devices continue to fill out their respective chip lineups for low-power systems.

Intel this week reportedly introduced a pair of third-generation Core i3 chips for the mobile market, while rival AMD unveiled its latest Embedded G-Series accelerated processing unit (APU) for small-form-factor embedded designs that call for very low power and low costs.

According to the Fudzilla Website, Intel rolled out the Core i3-3110M and i3-3217U, both dual-core processors based on the Ivy Bridge architecture and built on the chip maker€™s 22-nanometer manufacturing process. They also both feature Intel€™s HD 4000 graphics and Hyper Threading technologies.

The i3-3110M is aimed at mainstream notebook PCs, and is clocked at 2.4GHz. It offers 512MB of L2 and 3MB of L3 cache, dual-channel double data rate type 3 DDR3-1600 memory and a 35-watt thermal design power (TDP). The Core i3-3217U is an ultra-low-power chip that consumes 17 watts, looks to be designed more for Ultrabooks, new very thin and light notebook designs championed by Intel. It has a speed of 1.8GHz and the same L2 and L3 characteristics of the i3-3110M.

Intel executives expect the new Ivy Bridge processors being rolled out this year to fuel design wins and customer adoption of the Ultrabooks, which are designed to offer the same productivity capabilities of traditional laptops along with features normally found in tablets, including long battery life, instant-on and constant-connectivity capabilities, and in some cases touch-screens. Almost two-dozen Ultrabooks powered by last year€™s 32nm Sandy Bridge chips are on the market, and Intel officials said they expect more than 100 designs this year based on Ivy Bridge.

For its part, AMD is rolling out the G-T16R embedded chip for systems looking to combine x86 computing capabilities and graphics. The chip consumes 2.3 watts on average, a level of energy efficiency that is in demand for such systems in such areas as industrial control, point-of-sale, medical appliances and transportation, according to AMD officials.

€œWith the AMD G-T16R APU, we were striving for that critical balance of performance, power efficiency and cost for power, and cost-sensitive embedded applications, and we€™ve achieved it,€ Arun Iyengar, corporate vice president and general manager for AMD€™s Embedded Solutions unit, said in a statement. €œThis new APU helps to enable small-form-factor and fan-less designs with power consumption of just 2.3 watts on average.€

AMD officials said the chip offers a strong upgrade path for legacy applications, a key feature for embedded system designers. The chip fits into small-form-factor boards with a two-chip implementation€”the APU and a companion controller hub. In addition, the chip supports legacy I/O cards as well as multiple display technologies, from analog VGA and Low-Voltage Differential Signaling (LVDS) for legacy applications to Digital Video Interactive (DVI), High-Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) and DisplayPort interfaces for the newest display technologies.

Those companies using AMD€™s Geode LX chip family also can easily upgrade to the G-T16R, which consumes 7 percent less power and offers three times the performance of the Geode LX and its 2.45 watts, and all in a chip footprint that is 58 percent smaller.

AMD officials also said they are extending the availability of their entire Embedded G-Series chips through 2017, which is important to designers since embedded systems tend to have a longer life than traditional PCs and servers.

The chip maker has aggressively pursued the embedded market, creating not only the G-Series but also, in May, unveiling the Embedded R-Series lineup based on the new €œTrinity€ design and offering as many as four cores.